The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Assembly has charged the governments of its 175 member-states to assist in the prevention of piracy and armed robbery against ships as well as other illicit activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
The charge was made as part of the series of resolutions adopted by the IMO Assembly at the concluded 32nd session held in London following concerns on the incessant attacks and illicit activities in the GoG.
Part of the resolution includes a comprehensive action to address seafarers’ challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, consolidating issues related to crew change, access to medical care, key worker designation and seafarers’ prioritisation for COVID-19 vaccination.
According to the IMO Assembly, there are serious concerns on the safety and security of the maritime industry and the seafaring community as a result of the attacks against ships sailing in the Gulf of Guinea and the grave danger to life.
The IMO Assembly also stated that it was concerned about the serious risks to navigational safety and the environment that attacks by pirates, armed robbers and other criminals may cause.
The assembly urged governments of member-states that have not yet become parties to the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety to consider doing so by October 11, 2022, the tenth anniversary of the Agreement’s adoption.
While acknowledging the efforts made by countries in the region as well as other entities, the assembly urged governments to cooperate with and assist States in the Gulf of Guinea to develop their national and regional capabilities to improve maritime governance in waters under their jurisdiction.
The assembly also urged governments to prevent piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activities following international law, in particular, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The assembly further urged governments of member-state to assist States to build capacity to interdict and bring to justice those who commit crimes.
Such assistance, the assembly stated, includes strengthening of the legal frameworks, including anti-piracy laws and enforcement regulations, training of national maritime law enforcement agencies, promoting anti-piracy and law enforcement coordination and cooperation procedures between and among States, regions, organisations and industry; and the sharing of information.
On capacity-building, the IMO Assembly adopted a strategy to address the needs of member states including issues identified through the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS); and achieve the maritime aspects of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through a focus on supporting the development and implementation of robust national maritime policies and strategies predicated on harnessing the full potential of the maritime economies.
Customs, UN agency collaborate to fight smuggling
“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”
He appreciated how they traveled from afar to inform the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.
The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.
The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.
He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.
He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.
On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”
According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.
He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.
UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.
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